While locally made craft beer has taken off in recent years, some are thinking that hard cider may be following in its footsteps.
Chris Noskoff, Abraham Ebert and Brad Wilske recently opened Lost Giants Cider Company in the Haskell Business Park at 1200 Meador Ave. The production facility also has a taproom, serving customers Wednesday through Sunday.
The three owners say they share a passion for all things fermented, but as they learned more about cider they realized that it was a market ripe with opportunity.
"It's an expanding market, like craft beer was 10 years ago," Noskoff said.
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The taproom will also have craft beers from the local breweries, but the owners see it as a hangout to enjoy cider or beer. Although it is in an industrial park, it is near several neighborhoods as well as the softball fields, gymnastic facilities and trail system, so there are plenty of potential customers in the area, Noskoff said.
The company is currently looking at the idea of hosting food trucks and will have outdoor seating.
Craft cider in Bellingham is following an eerily similar path to craft beer. With craft beer, Boundary Bay Brewing was the lone mainstay for several years in Bellingham before 11 new breweries popped up in a relatively short period of time. With craft cider, Honey Moon has been the mainstay in Bellingham, but recent additions include Lost Giants and Bellingham Cider Co. One other facility in the works is Herb's Cider.
The Lost Giants owners have experience in beer breweries and they noticed when couples would arrive, more often one would order craft beer while the other would ask about alternatives like cider.
"We feel that cider is going to have explosive momentum in the craft beverage market and we want to be on the forefront of that movement," Wilske said.
The Lost Giants name is a tip of the hat to the outdoors, paying homage to the giant trees that used to populate the Bellingham area.
As for the cider, there is plenty of variety when it comes to flavor. On the basic level cider ranges from dry to sweet, with many variations in-between. What people new to cider may not realize is that it comes down to blending and fermentation time, Noskoff said. There can be 10 different types of apples blended into one cider flavor.
Lost Giants will tend to have cider on the dryer side, but will also have sweet options. It will also have non-alcoholic cider options.
The production facility itself is in a large warehouse space, giving the company room to grow. It will start with the taproom, then distribute into local restaurants. They hope to start selling cans of cider this summer, getting into stores throughout Whatcom, Skagit and Island counties.
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